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They have their exits (Pilot books;no.52) [Unknown Binding]

Airey Middleton Sheffield Neave
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)

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Kindle Edition 0.61  
Hardcover 16.48  
Paperback 9.09  
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Book Description

1966 Pilot books;no.52
The Author, who as a senior member of Mrs Thatcher's Government was tragically assassinated by the IRA, had the most distinguished of war records. Wounded and taken prisoner in the desperate fighting at Calais in 1940, he became a compulsive escaper and the first one of the very few to make a 'home-run' from Colditz Castle. Thereafter he rejoined the fighting serving in France and Holland before becoming a member of the International Military Tribunal at the Nuremburg War Crimes trials. There he was to meet the most notorious members of the Nazi hierarchy as they faced justice and, in many cases, death. For the quality of its writing and the breadth of its author's experiences, They Have Their Exits is arguably the finest memoir to emerge from the Second World War, and one for which the sobriquet 'classic' seems wholly inadequate.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 128 pages
  • Publisher: University of London P (1966)
  • ASIN: B0000CN2P0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)

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Product Description


I first read "They Have Their Exits" in the late 1970s when I was about 11. It was an old yellowing, fragile 1950s paperback copy bought cheaply from the church jumble sale.
The man himself was still alive then, although as a young boy I didn't really know who he was. It was a shock a few months later to hear on the TV news about his murder in a car-bomb attack. In recent years I kept meaning to re-read the book which surely has to be one of the most famous of all WW2 escape stories. The latest paperback edition arrived and am happy to say it up to the usual high production standards of Pen & Sword. All in all an excellent read of one of the classic stories to come from WW2.
According to the back cover all the royalties from this edition are being donated to 'The Airey Neave Trust' so that's an even better reason to buy a copy. and --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Airey Neave pursued a high profile political career, becoming Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's closest confident before his assassination. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
First published in 1953, Pen and Sword's edition of Airey Neave's ultimate Second World War escape memoir is a must for any student of history or military enthusiast, but before I delve into the book itself I must comment on its format.

Measuring a practical 16 cm x 23.5 cm in size with a flexible resilient paperback cover, the book is importantly not too heavy, making for excellent reading next to the pool or on a journey, or indeed anywhere.

The cover is well designed appealing to a new generation, as well as older. The book itself reads very much like a thriller novel and immediately draws you in, leading you from the shattered remnants of the British Expeditionary Force at Calais to the impregnability of Colditz castle, and beyond. We not only share Neave's experiences but get a glimpse into his psyche.

This is no ordinary escape memoir, for Neave was no ordinary escaper. The author relates his account through a mix of narrative and flashback, supplemented by excellent images and illustrations. His thoughts help to build a picture of this man and the circumstances he found himself in, not to mention providing a unique and rare insight into the key defendants at the Nuremberg Trials, from a fellow prisoners point of view.

Aside from the main story, what I found especially interesting was the ingenuity and resourcefulness of Neave's fellow prisoners, for without whom such escapes would have been impossible. In particular how escape aids and uniforms were fashioned, sometimes leading to humorous consequences.

They have their exits is definitely worth reading, and reading over and again. Sometimes humorous, the story is one of human resourcefulness, endurance and determination, which brings the author, as well as the reader full circle. If you only manage to pack one book this summer, make it this one.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still A Good Read 21 Mar 2011
By Jonbob
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Written in the constrained style that exists in all escape accounts in the immediate aftermath of the second World War; it seems amazing we feared a 3rd World war and didn`t want to give our secrets away to those nasty Soviets!! However it is a gripping yarn which not only brings alive the difficulty & frustration of life in a POW camp but the terror that was really involved in escaping.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Escape from Colditz 2 Jun 2011
This is a remarkable story from a remarkable man.The story is much more than an account of Airey Neave's escape from Colditz.It covers his work as liaison officer in the Nuremburg war crime trials . Neave's ingenuity and determination to escape makes gripping reading along with fascinating description of the precarious route home via Switzerland Germany France and Spain.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating..... 30 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I knew the name Airey Neave and remembered his tragic end from when I was a young schoolboy but only later became aware of his successful escape from Colditz. This book tells the first-hand story of a young man's capture, escape, incarceration, second escape, flight across Germany and return to the UK. It gives the reader an insight into the physical and psychological challenges of the escape . A very interesting and insightful story, which I enjoyed immensely.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book by a little known hero. 16 Feb 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I had not heard of Airey Neave - he was just before my time and callously taken by terrorists.

A local park was named after him and I googled the name. I was amazed.

Here was a guy with which I shared some common ground (same Regiment), but who had achieved so much - war time record, prisoner of war, escaping Colditz, returning to combat, moving into politics.

Incredible. The book arrived quickly and I can't wait to get into it.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Interesting stuff. Airey Neave lead a real "boys own" life. Anyone who likes the WWII escape stories should read this. Made more interesting for me that he stayed in a safe house in the village I live in, Port Vendres in south of France.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 8 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Brilliant read. What an amazing man.
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By Grace
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
because of books like this I know more about the brave things people did in the war.
than I ever realised when I was living through it. and this goes for everyone my age.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars very good read
Tale of courage in dark times and how to fight adversity. Shows how the mentality of not giving in can overcome
Published 4 days ago by Brian Flynn
4.0 out of 5 stars Read this and be proud to be British.
Well written and worth reading.Good job we had men like Airey Neave when we needed them.This book describes life as a POW and the risks taken to escape to freedom that involved... Read more
Published 7 days ago by bookworm_
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad read interesting
not these kind of people about now days,boy they were tough chaps and lady's to.Not a bad read interesting,tailed off a bit but thats the way true story's can go i guess. Read more
Published 21 days ago by the ghost of scousertommy
5.0 out of 5 stars They Have Their Exits
A very good read by a wonderful English gentleman in the truest sense. Such a shame he was taken from humanity in the. way he was. Howard.dean@sky
Published 22 days ago by Mr. H. W. Dean
5.0 out of 5 stars An important piece of history and not just escapism.
This is a must for anyone interested in second world war escape stories. Furthermore, it makes one realise just how brave, dedicated, innovative and determined... Read more
Published 1 month ago by John Mayne
5.0 out of 5 stars couldn't put it down once you star reading it
Great reading
Very we'll put together, most interesting, his knowledge of the escape. Route and description of the war trials made you feel you were there
Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars good insight into Nuremberg and the nazi characters
While the language is a little dated this is a really interesting behind the scenes look at the author's time in prison camp, and subsequently at the Nuremberg trials - well worth... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Alan G
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravery at its best
A remarkable story demonstrating the finest qualities of the true Englishman in an era long gone. I don't think Airey fully described the horror of his imprisonment at Colditz,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by fernacks
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
An excellent read for anyone interested in all things Colditz. Airey Neave was truly remarkable in his escape and life afterwards. So sad his life came to an untimely end. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Keith Holderness
5.0 out of 5 stars Salute
This book gives a clear picture of the heroics of the 2nd WW. In the face of such horror that men and women of courage have triumphed shows the indomitable spirit of human beings. Read more
Published 3 months ago by christine devlin
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